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Cordyceps fungus growing on an ant

Cordyceps fungus growing on an ant

C020/8258

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Credit

DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Fruiting bodies of a cordyceps fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) growing out of the body of an ant. Chains of spores released by the fruiting bodies are visible. Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that releases airborne spores which infect and slowly destroy the bodies of insects. The fungus can sometimes alter the behaviour of its host before killing it, ensuring the insect will die in a high place, enabling the spores of the fungus to be spread easily. Photographed in Yasuni National Park, Amazon rainforest, Ecuador.

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